American Student-Built Rocket Wins International Contest
Contest winners Penn Manor High School from Millersville, Pa., pose with their team advisor, Brian Osmolinski in front of the Raytheon pavilion. Raytheon sponsored the team’s trip to England to compete in the Transatlantic Rocketry Challenge. Team members are: Brendan Stoeckl, Jordan Franssen, Nate Bernhardt and Tyler Funk.
Credit: The Raytheon Company

A small rocket built by a team of American students from Pennsylvania soared into first place in an international contest held Friday in Farnborough, England ? helping the students become the first U.S. team to win the high-flying event.

The four-member team from Penn Manor High School in Millersville, Pa., posted the best score to win a trophy, individual medal and bragging rights at the Third Annual Transatlantic Rocketry Challenge at the 2010 Farnborough International Airshow. They beat out other student rocketeers from France and the United Kingdom.

"We are so excited that we won," said Penn Manor team member Brendan Stoeckl. "We succeeded because of practice, good data analysis and teamwork."

Second place went to a team from Horsforth School in Leeds, England, while technical difficulties prevented the French team from being able to launch its rocket, contest officials said.

The international rocket contest is the culmination of three separate competitions held throughout the year: the Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC), the United Kingdom Aerospace Youth Rocketry Challenge (UKAYRoC) and the French Rocketry Challenge.

Each individual contest brings together teams of middle and high school students, and tasks them with designing, building and launching model rockets.

For this year's Transatlantic Rocketry Challenge, teams had to launch a rocket that reaches an altitude of 825 feet (251 meters), stays airborne for 40 to 45 seconds, and returns a raw egg payload unbroken.

Teams also had to give an eight-minute presentation detailing their rocket design in front of a panel of international judges. This presentation was factored into the teams' final score.

The rocket challenges are sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association and the National Association of Rocketry in the U.S., ADS (part of the UK AeroSpace, Defence and Security industries), Tri Polus Ltd., Space Connections and the Royal Aeronautical Society in the U.K., and GIFAS (a French aerospace industries association) and Plan?te Sciences in France.

The programs are designed to encourage and motivate students to pursue careers in the field of aerospace.

"Based on today's competition, the future of our industry is looking pretty bright," said Marion Blakey, president and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association. "The level of enthusiasm of the participants is phenomenal, and each team deserves congratulations for winning their home competition and inspiring other students."